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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Icecats bounce back with Texas Tech sweep

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UofA vs Texas Hockey
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UofA vs Texas Hockey

With almost a month of rest behind them and a new year underway, the Arizona Icecats kicked off 2010 in a big way, capturing a pair of convincing victories against Texas Tech this past weekend.

“”I thought it was a good effort all in all,”” said head coach Leo Golembiewski. “”I think speed is our biggest asset, and if we use that speed we have a good chance of winning.””

That speed was on display all weekend long, as the Icecats (9-10) continually blew by Red Raiders (8-9) defenders for score after score. After coasting to a 5-1 victory in game one, sophomore forward Brady Lefferts and the Icecats poured it on in game two, but not without a few early hiccups. 

With back-up goaltender Nick Taylor between the pipes, the Icecats quickly dug themselves a hole, allowing three goals in the first five minutes of play. But Golembiewski showed little worry.

“”We’re a better skating club than Texas Tech,”” Golembiewski said. “”When it was three to nothing, there was not a concern.””

Golembiewski called on the usual starting goaltender David Herman for some relief, and the Icecats responded. They outscored Texas Tech 10-1 over the next 55 minutes of play en route to a 10-4 victory.

Lefferts, in his second game back after missing seven weeks with a separated clavicle, was the story of the weekend. In the second game he scored not one, not two, but five goals, capping off a six-goal, two-assist weekend for the sophomore forward.

“”He said he was trying to make up for all of the time that he missed,”” associate head coach Dave Dougall said with a laugh.

“”I was just thinking, ‘keep shooting, just keep shooting,'”” Lefferts added. He kept shooting his way to a career night, and proved how big of an asset he can be to the Icecats team.

The Anthem, Ariz., product had no problem adjusting to his linemates and showed especially great chemistry with junior forward Jordan Schupan, who assisted four of Lefferts’ five goals.

“”We played together a lot last year and we were really able to make things happen,”” Schupan said. “”He’s a great player, he’s just had a lot of injuries this year.  It’s great to have him back.””

Lefferts and the Icecats rebounded nicely after being swept by Arizona State almost a month prior. Texas Tech was less than impressive on the ice, and the Icecats took care of business.

The playoffs may be out of the question with 10 notches in the loss column, but this year’s Icecats team is competitive and motivated to play at a high level for the final 12 games of the season.

“”We’re all athletes, and we all have that competitive spirit, so it doesn’t matter every game what our record might be, we’re not going to stop,”” Schupan said.

 

Slight playoff hopes squashed by ASU at the end of the fall semester

Even after a 7-8 start to the season, the Arizona Icecats still had an outside chance at making a splash in the national picture.

With six remaining games against No. 8 Arizona State and two more against the nation’s best club, Lindenwood (Mo.), Arizona had the ammunition to gain national recognition, but they misfired … badly.

Knocking off a team like ASU back in mid-December would have earned respect on a national scale, but after the Sun Devils swept the Icecats on Dec. 11 and 12, playoff aspirations disappeared.

“”I don’t know that (playoffs) are really a possibility with the number of losses that we have at this point in time,”” said associate coach Dave Dougall after the game two loss against ASU.

In game one, the Icecats were embarrassed 7-1 by a bigger, faster, more physical ASU club. In game two the Icecats showed some signs of life, but ultimately came up short, losing 6-4 after leading 3-2 at the end of the first period.

The Sun Devils are an extremely talented club, but with a potential playoff push at stake, the Icecats reverted to their old ways, looking more like the team that started the season 2-8.

There was a lack of communication and unity out on the ice, and the guilt shouldn’t rest solely on the shoulders of the players.

“”It starts at the top,”” Dougall said. “”It’s not that the losses are the coaching staff’s, wins are the players’, but we definitely have to have a different mentality out there.””

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